Summer Travel Tips

shutterstock_2537857Summer is a popular time to travel and people often take advantage of the warmer weather to leave behind routines for an exciting vacation in a distant place. Although a vacation can be fun, it can also be a potentially stressful experience; travel delays, lost or stolen items, bad weather, hotel frustrations, difficult travel companions, and other problems can turn a dream trip into a trial. Following some basic principles can reduce or even eliminate travel headaches.

Packing: Streamline your packing, and when in doubt, eliminate the item. Luggage is expensive to check on flights, and if you’re traveling by car, too much stuff weighs your car down. Leave behind valuables or other items you would hate to lose. Check the weather of your destination and pack accordingly. It’s also a good idea to bring earplugs and a sleep mask.

Health: Vacations are meant to be fun, but they can also leave you exhausted, so it’s important to take care of your body. It’s tempting to overindulge during a trip or eat fast-food, so bring along healthy and filling snacks to curb cravings and save money. Getting good sleep, staying hydrated, and eating healthy will leave you more energized for the day’s activities.

Travel Safety: Don’t be lax about personal safety while on vacation, be aware of your surroundings and trust your instincts about a situation. Before your trip, tell someone where you are going and when you plan to return. Know the name and address of the place you are staying, and carry a list of important numbers with you in case something happens to your phone.

A Positive Attitude: Don’t let problems ruin your vacation, the best way to minimize travel frustrations is by maintaining a positive attitude. Unforeseen delays and problems will happen on vacation, but staying patient and optimistic can reduce the stress of a difficult experience.

Search for hotels and resorts by visiting the Real Local Pages (RLP) website, http://www.reallocalpages.com. RLP’s online directory contains listings for thousands of businesses across the United States, from hotels and restaurants, to computer repair shops and car dealerships. Enter your city and state to begin searching, then choose a search term from the popular categories list on the main page or look for businesses by using the search box. Each business listing includes the business’s address and phone number for your convenience.

Summer Vacation

campThe summer months are almost here, and although many working adults cannot take a long summer break like students, most people still associate summertime with fun and relaxation; a chance to visit a new place, spend time outdoors, and enjoy being with family. Despite the common misconception that summer vacation came about to accommodate children who needed to work family farms during the summer months, the modern idea of summer vacation actually arose because of urbanization.

School attendance wasn’t mandatory in the United States until the late nineteenth and early twentieth century. Throughout the nineteenth century, children in urban schools attended school almost year round. Those with money often skipped the summer months, escaping the city’s heat for pleasant summer homes. Kids in rural areas often took time off to help on farms during the busy spring planting and fall harvest seasons. By the end of the century however, schools moved to create a uniform school calendar, which resulted in the long summer break.

At the same time, more Americans were becoming city-dwellers, and the natural world—seemingly untouched by human civilization, grew into an attractive contrast to the stresses of city life. Writers like Emerson and Thoreau described the transformative power of nature, urging Americans to leave behind their populated cities to find spiritual meaning in the woods. In 1869, a preacher named William Murray published Adventures in the Wilderness; or, Camp-Life in the Adirondacks, a guidebook that glorified the wilderness of upstate New York and portrayed it as a perfect antidote to the pressures of urban living. Murray’s book sparked a rush of city-dwellers to the Adirondacks and helped inspire the camping craze of subsequent decades. The term “vacation” replaced “holiday,” as Americans “vacated” their homes for wilderness camping.

Find hotels and car rental locations for your summer vacation by searching Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses throughout the United States. Search the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, by entering your state and city. Find businesses by choosing from the popular categories list on the main page, or, enter search terms into the search box. Each business listing matching the search terms will show the address and phone number of the business. Real Local Pages is useful for finding a variety of businesses, from hotels and restaurants, to clothing stores and landscapers.

Old-Fashioned

old-fashionedAround the turn of the twenty-first century, cocktail enthusiasts brought the Old-Fashioned, the classic cocktail with a history dating back to the early 1800s, from obscurity into prominence. An Old-Fashioned is typically mixed with whiskey or bourbon, along with sugar, a dash of bitters (an alcohol flavoring derived from seeds, spices, flowers, or other plants), and garnished with a lemon peel or cherry. Despite its recent popularity, the Old-Fashioned has not always enjoyed a venerable place as an essential cocktail.

The Old-Fashioned was simply known as the whiskey cocktail back before the American Civil War. Cocktails were morning drinks consumed at breakfast and contained a heavier dose of bitters, which at the time was used for medicinal purposes rather than as a flavoring. In the 1870s, bartenders began experimenting with new additives and some cocktail drinkers called for a return to “the old-fashioned” whiskey cocktail. The name stuck, and after the moniker’s first print appearance in the New York Times in 1886, the whiskey cocktail was thereafter called the “the Old-Fashioned.”

The drink’s peak of popularity lasted into the early years of the 20th century, but like every other alcoholic beverage during the 1920s Prohibition era, the Old-Fashioned fell into disuse. Although many people continued making and drinking alcohol in secret, the ban on alcohol production severely hurt liquor quality. The liquor quality was often so bad that people started mixing in more sugar, fruit juices, and muddled fruit in with the alcohol to mask the bad flavor. Once Prohibition ended however, the practice of mixing in loads of sugar and muddled fruit in with cocktails like the Old-Fashioned lingered on. When cocktail drinkers took a renewed interest in the Old-Fashioned in the first years of the 21st century, they prepared the drink in the more traditional manner with only a little sugar and a simple fruit garnish.

Use Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses to find a good bar to enjoy an Old-Fashioned at. RLP’s directory has listings for thousands of businesses and services throughout the United States, from restaurants and bars to auto repair shops and veterinarians. Search for businesses by visiting the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com. Enter your location and browse listings by using the search box on the main page, or choose from the popular categories list. Each listing will show the address and phone number of the business.

An Evening Out

luceys-lounge-640Deciding on the right bar for an evening out can be tough unless you know what you’re looking for. The right bar can depend on your location, who you are going out with, or your price range. Although each bar offers patrons a unique experience, certain qualities can separate a mediocre bar from a memorable one.

Drinks: Most bars provide a variety of drinks, but different bars might have a better selection of the drinks you’re looking for. Some bars have a huge selection of beer on tap or have a great cocktail menu. Other bars may have an extensive wine list or specialize in a certain drink.

Service: A huge part of the experience at any establishment is the service and quality of the staff. At a bar, the bartender should not only be great with the drinks, but be personable and efficient. The bartender and the rest of the staff should be attentive, prompt, and friendly. Great staff keep the place running smoothly and give patrons a pleasant experience.

Cleanliness: Although cleanliness is not always the first thing on a person’s list when choosing a bar, a well-ordered establishment certainly creates a better experience. Clean bathrooms are especially important at a bar since they get a lot of use over the course of the evening.

Atmosphere: As a patron, you should feel comfortable in the overall atmosphere of the bar. The music in the bar should be at a reasonable volume to create a good ambiance, not drown out all other sound and conversation. Places that offer patrons activities (like live music, pool, etc.) can also make the evening more entertaining.

Find great bars in your area through Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses. RLP is great for finding a variety of services and businesses, from roofing contractors to resorts. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and enter your city and state. Search for businesses through the search box or choose from the popular categories list on the main page. The results page will display the business listing along with the address and phone number of the business.

April Showers

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAMost people are familiar with the old nursery rhyme, “April showers bring May flowers.” The heavy spring rains in April help new plants grow, but can also cause water damage to your home. Homeowners can prevent serious and costly damage by doing some preparation in and around their home to protect from the effects of  rain.

Roof and Structure Inspection: Since the roof experiences the most severe effects of bad weather, it’s important to periodically check the roof’s structural integrity. Have a professional inspect your roof for loose tiles/shingles, holes, cracks, and other signs of damage. It’s also important to check the house’s foundation; previous water damage can undermine the entire structure of the house and lead to costly repairs – here is the foundation repair cost Dallas.

Interior Inspection: Check the interior of your home for cracking and peeling on ceilings, walls, and around doors and windows. Look for mold, dark spots, or water rings as they could signal water damage. Check doors and windows to be sure they seal properly and keep out water.

Spring Cleaning: Prepare for rain and storms by doing spring cleaning around your property. Clear gutters and check them for corrosion. Trim trees and hedges and regularly clear leaves and dead branches from the area around your home. Loose leaves could cause water to buildup around your home and dead branches on trees could fall and damage property in a storm. Make sure lawn furniture and other loose items are secured or brought indoors before a storm since most storm damage occurs from flying objects.

Pest Control: Spring rain often brings out more insects; make sure to protect your home from ants, termites, and other pests. Try pest control remedies to deal with insects, or call a pest control expert. One natural remedy you can use to deter ants is to leave dry, crushed mint leaves or a bag of mint tea in areas where ants are active. Bed bug exterminator Columbus  prevents critters from making a permanent stop in your dwelling.

Use Real Local Pages (RLP) to find local pest control and roofing professionals to help you prepare for spring rains. RLP is an online directory of various businesses across the United States. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and choose your city and state. Search by choosing from the popular categories list on the home page, or use the search box to find a variety of businesses, from roofing experts to restaurants.

Give it a Brake

During National Car Care Month, vehicle owners should check the condition of their brakes to prevent more expensive repairs and ensure safety on the road. Brakes are an incredibly important safety feature on a vehicle, well-operating brakes helps car owners avoid accidents in case of sudden stops or turns. A car’s braking system is composed of multiple parts that undergo high amounts of wear and require regular maintenance.

Auto Inspections: An auto repair expert should inspect your brake system at least once a year, or every 12,000 miles. Have the mechanic thoroughly examine the brake fluid levels, the brake lining, the hoses, brake lines, rotor thickness, and the brake and dash warning lights to ensure that they are functioning properly.  At every oil change, get a professional to check the brakes, drums, rotor, and brake linings. Because brake fluid becomes acidic and can damage your brake system, a mechanic needs to flush the brake system and put in new brake fluid every two years. Even with proper care, brakes should be replaced every 20,000 miles or so, and depending on how you drive the vehicle, brakes may need to be replaced sooner.

Signs of Brake Problems: Listening to your car is one of the best ways to pick up on brake troubles. Unusual noises typically indicate that brakes are worn down and need an inspection. Listen for clicking, grinding or screeching sounds when you apply the brakes. Pay attention to the feel of the brakes as well; check your brakes if the brake feels “mushy” and you need to push the pedal almost to the floor before the brakes engage. If the pedal shakes while using it or if the pedal feels high or too hard when you press it, then the brakes need an inspection. There may also be a brake problem if the car pulls to one side while braking, or if the steering wheel vibrates or locks when using the brake.

Find a reputable auto repair shop by searching Real Local Pages (RLP), an online business directory containing listings for thousands of businesses across the United States. Visit the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and enter your city and state. Search for businesses on the home page by choosing from the popular categories list, or by using the search box. Business listings matching your search will display the business name, phone, and address.

Tire TLC

car_wheel_and_tireApril is National Car Care Month and every car owner should give their vehicle a little tender loving care to prevent major problems. Maintaining optimal tire performance is particularly important for your car; tires affect your vehicle’s braking, handling, and safety. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, an estimated one in ten car crashes are tire-related. Fortunately, vehicle owners can avoid most tire-related accidents with some preventative measures.

Tire Inspection: Give your wheels a visual inspection on a regular basis to check for wear, tears, holes, and other signs of damage. If you notice your car pulling to one side while driving at a steady speed, your tires could be damaged or need inflation. Avoid driving too fast, or stopping and starting suddenly as this wears tires down faster.

Rotation and Alignment: Have your car’s alignment checked at least once a year, and rotate your tires every 6,000 to 8,000 miles so that tires wear evenly. Uneven tire wear can affect the wear on your car’s shock absorbers and impact vehicle performance.

Tire Pressure: Check tire pressure at least once a month with a tire gauge. Good tire pressure helps tires last longer and saves money on gas—proper tire inflation improves gas mileage by about 3%. The wheels should be cool when you check the pressure. Consult the owner’s manual to know your car’s optimal inflation level, overinflated tires could be just as dangerous as underinflated ones.

Tread: Tire tread helps your car maintain traction on the road, and over time, the tread gradually wears down. Regularly monitor tire tread by inserting a quarter (with the top of Washington’s head facing in) into the tread groove. If the tire tread covers the top of Washington’s head, then your tires are safe for use.

Visit: MotorLender.com to get financial advice on vehicles.

Car owners can find auto repair and alignment shops in their area through Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses. RLP is useful for finding a variety of businesses, from roofing experts and electricians, to hotels and physicians. Visit the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and enter your location. Enter search terms into the search box on the home page, or choose a term from the popular categories list. The results page will show a list of businesses matching your search terms, along with the address and phone of each business.

Take a Vacation

-_12_-_ITALY_-_holiday_vacation_Salento_(_south_Apulia_)_6_sunset_at_seaIt’s time to take a vacation. On average, Americans receive between 12 to 14 days of paid vacation each year, a record low compared to other economically-developed countries. In addition, the Families and Works Institute found that most Americans do not even take their entire vacation time, resulting in a total of 429 million unused vacation days amongst American workers. Americans are zealously dedicated to their work and usually think of time off as a luxury instead of a necessity; but taking an extended break from work has significant mental, emotional, and physical health benefits.

Physical Health: Research has found that the mental break provided by a vacation is an important part of staying physically healthy. Rest and relaxation allows you to de-stress, which strengthens the immune system. Vacationing is also correlated with heart health; women and men who skipped vacations were more likely to experience a heart attack or develop heart disease. Enjoying leisure time is also linked with lower blood pressure levels.

Mental and Emotional Health: Individuals experience a myriad of mental and emotional benefits from a vacation. Taking a break allows you to de-stress, and while most people experience some level of stress in their daily lives, allowing it to build up can take a significant toll on your emotional and physical well-being, leaving you more vulnerable to sickness, depression, and burn out (exhaustion caused by prolonged stress). Time away from your daily responsibilities, gives you a new perspective on your situation and can leave you feeling more positive and excited about life. Vacation is even good for your career; people who took breaks from work are more productive, creative, and focused.

Visit the Real Local Pages (RLP) website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, to find hotels and resorts for your next vacation. Real Local Pages is an online directory of businesses and services throughout the United States. Choose your location, then search for businesses by entering key words like “hotel” into the search box on the main page. Users can also search the RLP website by choosing from the popular categories list on the home page. Each business listing on the results page will show the address and phone number of the location. RLP is useful for finding a variety of businesses, from resorts to electricians.

Tea versus Coffee

Tea was a widely-consumed drink in colonial America; many people began their day with tea or enjoyed a cup in the afternoon. America’s love affair with coffee can be traced back to the 1760s and 1770s when the British government began imposing higher taxes on tea and colonials turned to other drinks like coffee to protest the tax. Today, 54% of American adults drink coffee on a daily basis; but tea remains a favorite beverage, with over 50% of the population having a cup on a given day. Some swear by the superiority of one drink over the other, but both tea and coffee offer significant health benefits.

Both tea and coffee contain polyphenols, molecules which possess antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Coffee is in fact the largest source of antioxidants in the American diet. Tea and coffee also cuts the risk of developing neurological diseases such as Alzheimer’s. Consuming either drink also lowers a person’s risk of developing Type II Diabetes and certain types of cancers. Coffee in particular reduces the risk of liver cancer and protects against liver cirrhosis.

Since tea contains low levels of caffeine, large amounts can be consumed without side affects like jitteriness. Tea boosts the immune system and depending on the type of tea, it can alleviate a variety of ailments like headaches, cramps, allergies, and even stress. Tea-drinking is also correlated with a lower BMI (body-mass index) and reduces cholesterol and blood pressure.

Although coffee and tea share many advantages, coffee has the added benefit of aiding with cognitive functioning. Drinking an 8 oz. cup of coffee improves memory, alertness, energy levels, and performance on mental activities. Coffee can also decrease the likelihood of depression.

Find a local coffee shop through Real Local Pages (RLP), an online directory of businesses. RLP can be used to locate a variety of businesses throughout the United States, from coffee shops, to restaurants, to computer repair stores, to hotels and resorts. Enter your state and city on the website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, then enter key terms into the search box, or, choose from something on the popular categories list on the main page. The results page will display a list of businesses along with the address and phone number of the location.

Gardening and Health

jardinageSpring has arrived, and with it, warmer weather (for some) and newly-grown trees, plants and flowers. Dedicate some time this season to starting your own garden; you don’t need a green thumb or even a yard to start growing your own garden this Spring. Gardening is not only a fun pastime, but it is also great way to promote your physical and mental health:

Physical Health: Gardening is mild form of exercise that combines physical activity with stretching; since it’s a low-impact activity, gardening is especially good for people who suffer from chronic pain. Spending time in the sun is a good way to soak up Vitamin D, which strengthens the immune system.  Studies also found that gardeners tend to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables. Even the dirt itself is good for you; the bacteria common in soil, Mycobacterium vaccae, helps alleviate asthma and allergy symptoms.

Mental Health: Besides being a good way to stay healthy, gardening is good for your mental well-being. Research found that gardening improves mood and reduces depression symptoms. Gardening lowers Cortisol levels (known as the stress hormone), supports positive self-esteem, and lowers a person’s risk of developing dementia. Simply looking at a garden can induce calmness and positive feelings.

Start your own garden in your yard or a room in your house. Start with some sturdy houseplants like a Jade plant, a Croton, or hang a Boston fern in your kitchen. Or, plant cherry tomatoes, beans, or peppers in a large bucket (poke holes in the bucket to drain off water) and place the bucket on a porch or balcony. Herbs used in cooking are also an easy introduction to gardening since they sprout in sunny corners and can grow in small planters.

Find nearby gardening and hardware stores using Real Local Pages (RLP). RLP is an online directory containing listings for businesses and services located throughout the United States. Search by visiting the RLP website, http://www.reallocalpages.com, and entering your city. Locate local businesses by entering search terms like “garden” into the search box, or, choose a search term from the popular categories list on the home page. The results page will display the address and phone number of the business. Use Real Local Pages to find a variety of businesses and services, from lawn care experts to hobby supply stores.